How RocketSpace Is Building A ‘Hit Factory’ For Tech Startups

RocketSpace, the San Francisco co-working space for tech and new media startups, has attracted a strong set of tenants in the 14 months since it first opened its doors. Uber, Zaarly, Giftiki, Spotify, and GeekList are just a few of the more than 100 companies who have called RocketSpace home for a stretch of time in either in the past or present.

So TechCrunch TV stopped by RocketSpace’s four-story offices in San Francisco’s SOMA district to get a first-hand look at how exactly its ship is run. In the video embedded above, you can see footage of RocketSpace denizens at work and watch our interview with its founder and CEO Duncan Logan. He’s a really interesting person to talk to, so you should check out the interview in its entirety, but here is a sample of a few topics we touched on:

  • Rules Of Engagement: To get a desk in RocketSpace, startups must meet certain criteria. They must be in the tech or new media space, have secured some outside funding, and have fewer than 30 employees. According to Logan, this is so that RocketSpace attracts a certain class of startups — early- to mid-stage companies with strong prospects for success. “Our objective is to be seen as a hit factory, so the next Twitters, the next Facebooks are coming out of RocketSpace,” Logan said.
  • Ex-Pats Welcome, But Mingling Required: RocketSpace has developed a bit of a reputation for being diverse in terms of the national provenances of its startups (this may largely be because Logan himself is a native of Scotland.) But he actually has a hard rule that no more than a quarter of RocketSpace startups should hail from places outside the U.S. “The whole reason they’re coming here is to mix with Silicon Valley companies, and if it just becomes like the U.N. it defeats that purpose,” Logan said.
  • Matchmaking Abounds: RocketSpace has become a destination not just for entrepreneurs, but for large corporations keen to check out the latest developments at tech’s grassroots levels. He explained it like this: “Instead of allowing the startups to sort of disrupt them in some regards, they want to come and partner with the startups. So we’ll bring in a corporate… they’ll tell us what they’re interested in, we’ll go out and find the startups that are working in that space, and arrange for them to meet. It’s kind of corporate dating.”
We also got pitches from a few of the companies that are currently working within RocketSpace. You can watch the video below to see pitches from Michael Eiser, the CEO of cloud-based file processing automator Wappwolf; Andrew Mulvenna, the co-founder of retail software company Brightpearl; and Dominic Williams, the CEO of gaming company for kids Fight My Monster.